A very chilly start to Saturday morning, around 27* at some point along I26. Luckily I was able to get Monty & Lauren to caravan down to the race. The Swamp Sweat XC race brought out a small race crowd consisting of mostly local Charleston riders and Naval folk, a very laid back group of bike racers. Marrington Plantation is located in the Naval base area in Goose Creek, SC. Marrington Plantation is a flat course with plenty of turns. There were more twists and turns to confuse anyone who might be new to the area (i.e. me). Trails were in great shape hard packed and well groomed, made for a fast fast very fast 26mi race.
It has been some time since I lined up for a normal XC effort. Knowing it would be much faster than I'm use to so I had to go into a mind set that fast was the word for the day. It helped that Monty was super ampted to be mixing it up with expert racers, this cat is fast anyway. Flat out along a paved road for the first mile, enough to stretch thing out early. Right turn onto a grass road where the first selections were made. Monty surged into 3rd while I sat in around 8th with the lead group of 8. Gaps started to develop in the pace line, so the need to move up hit me. Passed a slower rider then two now I was trapped out of the line. Oh yeah I'll show you bastards - how about an attack to blow this thing wide open.
Dropping into the first section of single track leading Monty & two locals. The Hammer had officially fallen out of my pocket. I'm kidding I dropped it on purpose. About two minute into the trail - word was passed up that a crash had taken several riders down and our gap was growing quick. It helped that we were rolling over 15+ mph at the time. I could feel Monty breathing down my neck, he was itching to turn the screws tighter. I pulled over and let him take the lead. Around mile 4 Monty snagged a pedal on a root going into a corner and yard sale time. Barely missing him we cleared and proceeded on I was trying to slow our pace a touch to allow him to catch back on.
First mistake of the race was not letting the locals led once Monty hit the deck. I was powering out of every turn to find another turn coming. My smoothness was not there. So about another mile missed a tight right hander and found myself in the jungle. Just like a damn rookie w/ too much caffeine.
First to third and a gap growing every second I'm playing in the bushes. So now into chase mode. Monty eventually catches me, and the team effort continues again till he drops me. Solely due to lack of training, just thought I needed to add some type of excuse. So now riding the trail solo had no idea where or how far I had to go. So in true racer form I lowered my head and continued to bury myself for the the pure fun of it.
Feeling the end of lap 1 was near I glanced over as those being chased often do, I saw a rider closing in on me. Damn was the first of many thoughts. A few more shoulder checks later - "dang that looks like Monty". Yeah Monty took several wrong turns on a course that had minimal markers on it. I to took several questionable turns, but managed to take the right way out.
Now back in tandem for the start of the second lap. Monty was fired up and I was happy to still be up in the front of the race. Monty soon made me look like a rookie again with enough accelerations to crack me. Now into survival mode, just hold off the charging pack of riders who were surely looking for us. With about 3mi to the end a rider catches me and I would hang onto him as long as I could. With about a mile left of single track I lost his wheel and watched as he rode up the trail. Finally the paved road back into the finish with no one on my 6. The last guy only put like a minute on me. I'll take a 5th place.
1. Justin Fisher 1:41:48
2. Scott Miner 1:41:53
3. Monty DuBose 1:45:25
4. Steve Brown 1:45:46
5. Toby Porter 1:46:47
6. Mitchell Clement 1:50:45
7. Luke Wilson 1:53:40
8. Mike Harrington 1:55:20
9. Greg Scott 1:58:09
10. Don Brion 2:00:47
11. Chris Mackenzie 2:07:24
12. Craig Pellitier 2:18:37
Also a thanks to Brian H for the pre-ride and some insight as to the land. Check is site at spokejunky